We cannot trust ourselves to feelings of incessant betrayal—not unless we want relational death by insanity. Expectations of fairness in the world are, therefore, fraught with the danger of abject disappointment.
“Fairness” is a very unequal quality, implicit of partiality; each individual chooses how fair their world is, from their experience, and how fair they’ll be, often in response to their perception of how equitable the world is.
Not many people are fairer with their external world than their perception of the world’s fairness to them. That’s the principle of reciprocity for you.
A Classic Irony – Fairness With The Unfair
Those most unfair in their discharge of life generally see themselves as unfairly treated—in the main. Those with the most complaints typically don’t see how unfair they are being. The forest is too thick with trees to see all those wooden tree trunks!
This false perception is based in a lack of responsibility to accept the rub of an impartial life in maturity. And life is impartial—the same odds for “unfairness” exist as constants of potential. Loss, change and grief can come to anyone, any time.
Life isn’t unfair, but it does seem unfair to many people. And in many cases that assessment is fair enough, given the struggles through the grief process we all need to make in adjusting to the distresses of life. Four out of the five grief stages are negative. The grief process is unfair. But that’s life; and life for all.
It’s up to us whether we’ll choose effective or dysfunctional strategies, though.
Because there are many whom have chosen dysfunctional strategies we can expect them to deflect their distresses onto us—usually inexplicably. In other words, there is no recourse with them regarding these deflections. It seems unfair to us, but never fairer to them who have to endure ‘the most unfairness’ in the world.
Enter The Boundaries Of Trust
Our protection in maintaining our emotional equilibrium is to:
1. Understand and accept the above phenomenon; and,
2. Wisely plan the institution of boundaries.
When we come to expect varying forms of fairness and unfairness within our relationships, accepting same, we are set up for satisfaction beyond our treatment.
We are best, however, planning upon reasonable boundaries of trust so as to provide for that emotional equilibrium we all need.
Boundaries of trust really are sensible constraints we place on our relationships, governing the issuing of intimacy; we let fairer people have more latitude, giving them more of our intimacy—which is relational freedom and honesty; the sense of ease. Those we have unfair experience with shouldn’t be allowed such latitude. They haven’t earned that level of intimacy or trust.
When our trust goes to those who seem fair, it’s rewarded; as is caution regarding those who seem unfair. We trust only those with our intimacy who have proven worthy of that trust.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.